Where is this walk?

Great Crag from Watendlath

July 28, 2017

Park near the tarn at Watendlath and head past the tarn towards some higher land. The higher land is Great Crag, a rocky peak perched above the lovely Dock Tarn.

The Walk

It is very rare to find a walk in the central lakes which is quiet and unspoilt. Great Crag from Watendlath is one such walk. Watendlath is a hidden valley, often overlooked on the drive south form Keswick to the bigger hills at the head of Borrowdale. The land here is rough and undulating, a typical mess of land covered with heather and bracken, hidden patches of water and small rocky outcrops.

The short walk is full of variety. The highlights being the summit of Great Crag and idyllic Dock Tarn. There are two cairns on the top of Great Crag, pick either as even the O/S struggle to give the hill a proper height. Whichever cairn you pick though there are glorious views. It is so well positioned that the views are extensive in all directions. The exception is the south east where the bulk of Ullscarf obscures the view. Dock Tarn is lovely and completely unspoilt. Most walkers in the Lakes will never have seen or heard of it. More fool them.


Stop at Ashness Bridge and walk the few hundred meters to Surprise View for one of the most iconic views in the Lake District. Over Derwentwater and Keswick to Skiddaw.

Navigation Tips on Great Crag from Watendlath

This is one of the training grounds for National Park volunteers. The land is tricky if you leave the main path near Dock Tarn. Exploring the hidden knolls and rocky outcrops in the bracken and misty weather is an excellent practice ground for higher and wilder challenges.

  • Peter says:

    The parking at Surprise View is no longer free!

  • Ann Bowker says:

    A better circuit can be made by parking at Stonethwaite and going up to Dock Tarn from there. Descend to Watendlath then across towards Rosthwaite and back to Stonethwaite. This also avoids driving up the narrow Watendlath road.
    BTW it is far more than 100m from Ashness Bridge to Surprise View but there is good parking right beside Surprise View – a very worthwhile viewpoint.

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